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Date Posted: 19:42:54 08/30/06 Wed
Author: DocBloggers:Palmdoc,TECheah,Dobbs, Vagus, UK Doc and Friends (Malaysian Medical Resources)
Subject: Transfer factor: another MLM scam
In reply to: Joseph Stover 's message, "Dear Medical Professionals, Please remember your Hippocrates's Oath!" on 19:25:38 08/29/06 Tue

April 13, 2006Transfer factor: another MLM scam
by Palmdoc @ 1:16 pm. Filed under - Palmdoc, - Fraud watch
Noraini wrote in with a request for the MMR to promote “Transfer factor”

Transfer factor is currently a product being sold in an MLM scheme. The 4Life TF product you refer to is a product which has no proven value in any illness. Claims of it “boosting the immune system” are unsubstantiated by any peer-reviewed journal publication. I cannot find any reference in a Pubmed Medline search.

Medicine Man is an interesting article which tells of how this product is being sold via the MLM mechanism

But 4Life Research is not a typical health supplement supplier, either. The various Transfer Factor products generally are not sold in retail outlets, but by self-employed distributors who operate within a classic multi-level marketing plan. Their goal is not only to sell the products, but to entice others to become distributors as well as that’s where the real money is. A distributor who spawns others, who in turn spawn still others, supposedly can make five or even six figures per year with shockingly little effort

What is “transfer factor”?

The term “transfer factor” has various unrelated meanings in science. Its first use related to immunity stems from research performed by Dr. H.S. Lawrence of New York University in the 1940s.
In Lawrence’s work, transfer factor referred to “an extract of human white blood cells that could transfer a type of immunity called cell-mediated immunity,” says Dr. Burton Zweiman, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who worked in Lawrence’s lab 40 years ago. “Investigation of TF has been somewhat erratic over the years, with both supporters and deniers of its biologic importance.”

“I am not aware of any studies of transfer factor being obtained from cow colostrum and [transferring] immune reactivity to humans,” says Dr. Zweiman. “Nor could I find any reference to it in a Medline search of the medical literature.”
A spokeswoman for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, says, “NCCAM has not funded any research on this therapy, nor have I heard of it before now.”

But Dr. Fudenberg, reached at his office in Spartanburg, SC, says the report — which he described as the results of a review of other scientists’ work — stated nothing of the sort. “The conclusion,” Fudenberg says forcefully, “was that the commercial firms making this for humans were invariably run by people who were not scientists and who didn’t care whether their products were harmful or not.”

and more:

City Paper forwarded a transcript of 4Life’s promotional audio cassette “From Here to Immunity,” which was distributed at the seminar in Valley Forge, to various immunologists, microbiologists and biochemists. Those who responded were skeptical.
“Speaking from a standpoint of mainstream medicine, there is not a lot of familiarity [with] or support for this kind of practice,” says Dr. James T. Li, professor of medicine at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, MN, and member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “This is a form of alternative treatment,” he says, which, he adds, almost by definition means there is little evidence to support its proponents’ claims — at least not the kind of evidence doctors and scientists generally like to see.
Li hesitates to call 4Life’s claims misleading or false, but says, “I would be skeptical, and I would advise others to be as well.”

Others are more blunt.

“Most of the clinical studies of transfer factors have been based on the specificity of each transfer factor,” says Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology — who says he once declined 4Life’s offer to act as a consultant.

For example, he explains, “a transfer factor that is specific for Herpes simplex will prevent recurrent infections with this virus. The approach being used by 4Life and other companies is to ignore the specificity issue and make non-specific claims for boosting the immune system.”

and there is the usual disclaimer

And in the fine print, 4Life Research’s own materials include startlingly blunt disclaimers such as this one: “Transfer Factor and Transfer Factor Plus do not claim, nor should it be interpreted, to cure, prevent or mitigate any serious disease.” And this: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

You claim that it is a “highly recommended as an alternative medicinal help to many chronic diseases especially by the Russian Ministry of Health.” I am sorry but claims like these need to be backed up by solid clinical studies and sound scientific evidence. I can’t find any.

**Testimonial evidence is NOT scientific evidence**

I am not reproducing the links to the websites you emailed as I do not condone unproven “health products”. FYI the FDA has taken action against websites falsely promoting Transfer factor for unfounded therapeutic claims

Is colostrum from cows good for you? Yes, if you are a baby cow…..

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39 Responses to “Transfer factor: another MLM scam”
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BloodDoc Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 8:04 pm
**You mean to say research like the one done by Merck on VIOXX?
A reputable company, done more than 2000 research
before launching VIOXX! WOW!**

The current practice is not perfect, but before we have a better way, it is possibly still the most scientific way. Take the case of Vioxx, at least post marketing surveillance, i.e. Phase IV will have a check on unexpected issues.

I wonder people swear by TF will ever subject it to clinical trials.

Quick read on clinical trials

Palmdoc Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 6:21 pm
Hello “doctor”. There’s good research and there’s bad research. The latter will be caught out eventually. Better than MLMer making fantastic claims on the basis of non-existent or very little research. Cheers.

doctor Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 6:17 pm
Hi Palmdoc,
I agree with your comments on research.
You mean to say research like the one done by Merck on VIOXX?
A reputable company, done more than 2000 research
before launching VIOXX! WOW!

Dr Radha Krishna.

Palmdoc Says:
June 24th, 2006 at 12:24 pm
Pharma companies market drugs which have undergone clinical trials. TF is not a drug, it’s at best a “nutritional supplement”. No reputable pharma company would market this and make claims it will prevent or treat illnesses without evidence from sound clinical trials. Now you see why Pharma companies won’t touch TF with a barge pole?

doctor Says:
June 24th, 2006 at 11:55 am
I just wondering what would have happened if Transfer Factor was marketed by company like PFIZER.Sure most doctors would
have used without having 2nd thoughts.

Palmdoc Says:
April 23rd, 2006 at 11:23 pm
Its the stark absence of randomised clinical trials to show the efficacy of bovine colostrum in “improving immunity” etc.
So many websites, and so little evidence.
The point I make again - testimonial “evidence” should not be taken as scientific proof. The vast majority of these TF websites are studded with such “evidence”. What clear evidence? All we ask is show quality research and publications in peer reviewed journals. None? Hmmmm.
Market it as a “nutritional product” by all means. That should be all you are allowed to do. Do not make any unsubstantiated claims for prevention of disease etc.

Chippo Says:
April 23rd, 2006 at 11:17 pm
If there are just so many websites out there supporting TF, there must be alot of truth to it then. In fact no point complaining to MOH too as neotiations are on going in Bolehland to give TF the same status as that in Russia especially if the backing comes from a few very influential ppl who have used and can verify the importance of TF. Also studies have been done on websites that promote TF and the only site that actually claims TF and 4life Research as a fraud is that of Medicine Man. Something like in the ratio of 700,000 to 1.

Just as the ONE very odd site claims and uses phrases from a few doctiors and immunologists, then there are tonnes of other sites that state exactly otherwise. Since 1998, if TF had been using unfounded reports, the sales would not have exceeded 6107% which eventually put them in the highest ranking MLM company in the World.

In fact in the Feb/March issue of Total Health magazine which is read by millions of people around the world, carried a full 2 page article on TF. It clearly stated that TF might be mankinds’ last line of defence in the event there is a pandemic of the Avian Flu.

They cannot have made such references blindy. In fact Palmdoc also justifies his theory of TF as being fraud based on JUST ONE WEBSITE.

Network Markeing Journal which recommends the best MLM companies in the world and is available from popular bookstores like Borders, recommended everyone to look at 4life as an alternative and voted them Company of the Month Twice and predicted 4life Research to be the next billion dollar in the nutrition industry as they carry a product that no one else does.

With just so many evidences and more than a half a million websites supporting the goodness of TF, it simply cannot have gone into the market with unfounded claims.

Professionals in the likes of Darryl See, William Hennen, and Dr Richard Bennet the world renowned micro biologist and an immunologist could not have made such claims without substantiating clear evidence.

What a few doctors say about TF does not matter, what the general world thinks about it is what really matters.

As for the FDA regulations, it merely states that you cannot make medical claims for nutritional products. 4life Research only received one such note from FDA in comparison the hundreds of notes received by other nutrition companies. There are no other records. There was no action taken against 4life Research or David Lisonbee, merely requesting that the claims of curing certain ailments associated with the usage of drugs be taken out and these claims were printed in the Glucoach and fibro AMJ products, not the Transfer Factor or Transfer Factor Advance Plus. As such, the note by FDA carries no weight whatsoever on the quality and the image of TF.

A few very intelligent medical professionals in Bolehland have already made the right choice by recommending TF to their patients. We have infact gone into the next paradigm by bringing TF to higher authority and TF is beginning to be accepted by Hospital Advisory boards in Bolehland as well.

The vision of bringing TF to the world is indeed becoming a reality.

LF Ng Says:
April 23rd, 2006 at 3:08 pm
@”Professor TF”: sue us? I guess you are one of the many who believe that suing to intimidate is so easy to do in Bolehland! I am sorry to say that even during the time of Dr M, people who abuse the legal system end up burning themselves. It has improved since.

I would not even recommend anyone to sue you: we just have to make a written report to the MOH and let them make you people sweat! I think you are the real coward, hiding behind a self appointed professorship and not revealing your name. I would personally do it if I were in Bolehland but I am not

Palmdoc Says:
April 23rd, 2006 at 8:21 am
“Professor TF”, the point UK Doc is trying to make is that just because something sells, doesn’t mean it is good for you - or is that point lost on your MLM way of life and thinking? MLMers are trying to push TF as a “nutritional product which boosts the immune system” if humans ingest it. If it sells well, it only goes to show how many gullible people there are out there.
We seek to educate as there are just too many such “health products” out there making unsubstantiated claims.
The FDA has taken action against 4Life for making such claims (see http://www.casewatch.org/fdawarning/prod/2004/4life.shtml )

Professor TF Says:
April 23rd, 2006 at 6:52 am
hmm.. UK Doc cant distinguish between nutrition and cigarrettes.

c’mon people, dont just talk. Sue us.

cowards behind the screens…

UK Doc Says:
April 23rd, 2006 at 6:33 am
Ya, it is really simple for the simple minded to believe that if the whole world is consuming a product then it must be good.
Why don’t you go and smoke 200 cigarettes a day? Come on, come on, you and your common sense… Yawn.

Palmdoc Says:
April 23rd, 2006 at 2:39 am
@Chippo, you said “All I can say is that when I was down with dengue, TF helped me tremendously”. Just examine how you came to the conclusion:
1) The severity of Dengue will vary from case to case. If the dengue happened to be mild, and you happened to take something, you cannot conclusively say that there was a cause-effect relationship.
2) Dengue like many other illnesses, has a natural history. Anything you take towards the tail end of the illness will appear to have caused improvement.

Once again I say that we are trying to educate the public that you CANNOT rely on personal experience and testimonies as “reliable evidence”.

LF Ng Says:
April 21st, 2006 at 3:13 pm
Chippo, “One swallow doth not a summer make ” I agree Bolehland is not the medical hub and will never be: advocates of snake oil therapy like you will not make this any more helpful. If you had been on TF in hospital, the MOH and MMC will certainly be very interested in the name of your doctor and the hospital

I agree, the attitude of many in the medical profession in Bolehland needs to be revisited. Too many are also snake oil therapists!!

Chippo Says:
April 21st, 2006 at 2:40 pm
I merely stated what happened whilst I was on TF in hospital. I wonder why Boleh Land is not a medical hub in the region. Hmmm, the attitude of a few medical pratitioners is less than desired here.

lazyman Says:
April 21st, 2006 at 1:42 pm

u can argue till the sky drops and try to convince the medical fraternity of all these ‘garbage’products with nary one ounce of scientific evidence.ur attempt to ’shortchange’ clinical evidence or purported skewed studies to subsatntiate ABC products is doomed to fail and failed miserably.of course there will be unsrupulous medical traders capitulating to ABC claims for the $ and against their conscience-the damage to one’s integrity as a doctor will not inconceivably cause sleepness nites for these perpetrators of another kind

we are talking about science not the perception or feelings of a few -u’ll probably mentioned hundreds -never mind u can even have thousands coveting ur ABC as the ULTIMATE PRODUCT against dengue heart disease etc

wheres the irrefutable evidence to ABC ???
becos a few doctors??in the profession agrees does not implicitly means the entire medical community is behind the effectiveness of ABC

pls take ur comments to another less science oriented column

LF Ng Says:
April 21st, 2006 at 11:54 am
Chippo, medicine is an art as well as a science. The art is talking smoothly to the patient and if one is really good enough, one can capitalise on the placebo effect. Hence, even if the science and logic do not fit the picture, smooth talk can do the trick - I bet you would have noticed that this strategy can be used very effectively on females (not being a chauvinist but this is a biological fact).

New observations as you have described may be placebo like or real. In any case many practising doctors keep an open mind on many issues where the scientific evidence is scant. Also healthy scepticism is an important attribute as a good (not necessarily ’successful’) doctor. The enthusiast amongst the sceptics would then form a hypothesis, design a clinical trial and formally test this hypothesis.

This is the correct and ethical way to go…..not ‘recommending’ it to all and sundry for all conditions. In Bolehland, it is a ’semua boleh’ culture - as there are no regulations to check these practices and, I cynically tell my friends - Bolehland is a wonderful place to practise medicine as those who are good can ‘test’ medications on their patients without tight regulatory measures and those who are not so good can also do well as their ignorance and dubious practices (often compensated by smooth talk) will not be properly scrutinised. This is not my brand of medicine - that is why I left the country some years ago.

But, I guess all good things will come to an end. I hope Ismail Merican reads this and takes the appropriate action. This may inspire some changes which will attract Malaysians based overseas to return to join their Semua Boleh colleagues.

Chippo Says:
April 21st, 2006 at 11:00 am
There will always be the believers and non-believers. I believe, although I will not base it on any evidence out there as I am sure the non-believers or infidels will find ways to object it. All I can say is that when I was down with dengue, TF helped me tremendously, so much that the physician attending to me was amazed. My neuropathy associated with diabetes has improved and I take TF as my daily regimen of dietry supplement.

Not all medical professionals are non-believers though, as I know of a couple of cadiac specialists who believe in TF based on medical evidence in Singapore.

Wellwisher Says:
April 21st, 2006 at 12:49 am
however scientists prefer to work with bovine (cow) colostrums and due to practical considerations in the manufacturing and processing of transfer factor, bovine colostrum is the preferred source of transfer factor. It is the easiest colostrum to procure in quantity and it produces significant amounts of various transfer factors.
a cow’s immune system???? that’s able to help a human immune system??? Ika you gotta be kidding!!! you have no idea whose words you carry!!! Ika, my personal suggestion to you… you’re wasting your time and you could channel that energy and commitment to something useful!!! selling nasi lemak is one of them… one of the low cost startup and noble businesses as long as cholesterol is taken into consideration… )

Wellwisher Says:
April 21st, 2006 at 12:40 am
Hey guys!
i was introduced once to this MLM and all i can say is this doesn’t have any substantial up to date studies and my suggestion is stay away from it as far as possible.. let me brief you on few things before we even talk about these products:
- First MLM leads make money by selling all sorts of “get together”, “motivational training” campaigns or programmes as well as “brochures” and “name cards” services… They never make money by selling products because the margin of commissions and failure to collect them makes it so hard to earn anything and it’s freaking hard to maintain your downlines. Many of them don’t buy the products..
- Second if this product were ever able to boost immune system then it’d be all over the world and you’d have known by now and it wouldn’t be sold under MLM system as this would’ve considered as a miracle and it would all over the news.. It’s so pathetic that people just don’t get it that anything sold under MLM needs to be “pushed” into markets because there’s simply no demand for it… and it’s easy to conceal from law enforcements because everything is person to person… no malls, no supermarkets..
-Third, if you notice in their so called “medical studies” it often appears to have taken place in some 3rd world countries(no regulations and it’s easy to bribe) and if it’s in US then it’s been done ages ago and there’s no follow up study… Now you must know something, the doctors who back up these products are either uneducated or “money minded” people who are not happy with their current paychecks!!!
- Fourth and the last!!! this is very important!!!! Guys stay away from anything that says it’s going to “boost” “cure” your immune system!!! Especially something that has to do with “molecules” or “DNAs” this doesn’t sound good!!! it’s risky!!! you have no idea what the side effects are going to be in about 5-10 years down the road because you’re messing with your immune system!!! and by the time this scam is exposed and founders are sued it’s going to be late and they’ll get away by paying huge sum of bribes to the judges!!! Always check the founders background and remember your immune system is itself superior to anything and there’s never in the history that cures immune system there are only vaccines that cause reactions in it in order to prepare you ahead of diseases!!! there’s no cure for flu and it’s your immune system that fights against it, vitamins and antibiotics only help it to do it faster!!! Ika, please don’t mislead people and play with their lives and hard earned money!!! what goes around, comes around!!! if you’re business minded please do something that doesn’t mess with peoples lives and rob them of their living… RM200 for 60 capsules!!! guys are these people out of their minds???!!!


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